Blackberry Smoke Take the Highway…to Macon

Blackberry Smoke have comfortably become the quintessential modern-day Southern Rock revival band the Black Crowes always desperately wanted to be but were too consumed by weed, drama and attitude to properly achieve. Blackberry Smoke’s 2016 album Like an Arrow featured Gregg Allman on a cut, and their outright reverence for their Southern Rock forefathers continues full-bore on their forthcoming EP, Live from Capricorn Sound Studios.

Now part of Mercer University (and renamed Mercer Music at Capricorn), the 20,000 square-foot facility has been renovated and was reopened late last year. Blackberry Smoke were the first major band to do a professional recording at the studio in over 40 years, and for the occasion they chose to record their own versions of assorted Southern Rock chestnuts, including two by the Allman Brothers Band (“Midnight Rider,” “Revival”), two by Wet Willie (“Keep on Smiling” and “Grits Ain’t Groceries,” both featuring original Wet Willie singer Jimmy Hall), the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Take the Highway” and, capping it off, “Southern Child” by original Macon wildman Little Richard.

The EP comes out June 19, and they are currently still scheduled to begin their summertime “Spirit of the South” package tour – with opening acts the Allman Betts Band, the Wild Feathers, Jaimoe and occasional special guests – on July 17 in St. Louis. If all goes as planned, they’ll wrap up this year’s tour diary back home in Atlanta, upgrading their annual Thanksgiving-time shows at the Tabernacle to one night at the Fox on November 28.

Photo by Evan Bartleson.